Although I’m planning to work from home at little before the baby arrives, today is my last official day in the office. When I arrived this morning there was a giant bouquet of dark orange tiger lilies on my desk and a card from my supervisor of seven years saying how much she was going to miss me and how much she hoped I would have an easier time laboring in the hospital than I do laboring at my desk day after day. (A fine sentiment indeed considering my labor at the office is mostly low-stress and enjoyable!)
The flowers and card were a surprise, as I didn’t expect any kind of farewell gesture other than a few waves, high-fives, and “good luck”s, and maybe an under-the-breath “don’t let the door hit you…” from someone harboring not-so-secret resentment about the fact that I’m going on leave at all. (Breeders! The nerve!) Even though we’ve had little mini-parties for outgoing pregnant coworkers in the past (instead of calling them baby showers they were deemed “drizzles”), I didn’t anticipate one for me considering the people most likely to plan it were guests at the pre-baby party we threw at our house a few weekends ago. Honestly, I was glad it didn’t happen; it’s my last day here, but I still have a list as long as my arm of things that need to be finished up before I’m out of commission for good.
Overall, though, it’s been really nice to have coworkers who care about my pregnancy not just from a how-will-this-affect-my-workflow perspective but on a more personal level. A few of them have donated hand-me-downs, a few have handmade special gifts, and there was even a betting pool the day we had the ultrasound to find out the baby’s sex. And, because we’re keeping the name a secret, there’s also been no end to the discussions of what we should name the boy, including suggestions both serious and silly and dubiously in between. (What do you think about Ignatius?)
This morning the head-honcho bossman (and the one who proposed Ignatius, actually) dropped in to say goodbye and to tell me that I would be missed. “I’ll miss this place too,” I said, “but I have a feeling I’ll get over it once I welcome a certain little distraction into my home.” “Well, make sure you bring the little distraction around to meet us all,” he said, and although it would have been convenient just then to blame my misty eyes on an allergic reaction to the nearby bouquet, I was honestly just overcome with emotion at being surrounded by people who truly care about me and my growing family, especially when it can be so easy to keep business life separate from personal life in the workplace.
Part of why I feel so lucky comes from a suspicion that not everyone has it so good. What about you? How (un)involved are/were your coworkers in your pregnancy? Did they throw you a shower? Shower you with gifts on the sly? Place bets on the sex/birthdate/dimensions of your baby? Suggest names? Were they on the list of people to notify as soon as the baby made his appearance, and did they print out and post in a place of distinction the picture you emailed of the tot fresh from the oven, as I expect my coworkers to do?